An Unexpected Journey Brings Reward to SUU Illustrator

Published: April 20, 2021 | Author: Ashley H Palmer | Read Time: 3 minutes

Calm by Andrew LeeAndrew Lee, senior Illustration Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) candidate, has been awarded the silver medal and a scholarship for one of his entries into the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles 59th Annual Illustration Competition.

Originally from Tooele, Utah, his family relocated to Provo, Utah while he was in high school. When asked about what inspires his art, Lee responded, “I've always loved being outside and experiencing the beauty that surrounds us. That fascination, along with a pretty active imagination had me running around as a kid on hills pretending they were castles and looking out the window at armies chasing the car as my parents drove.”

Hala Swearingen, Associate Professor of Illustration, shares, “I first met Andrew when he came to my office two years ago as an accounting major. He told me that he wanted to become a professional artist in two years. It has been amazing to watch Andrew grow artistically. Within these last two years, his work has gotten national recognition—both in the annual New York Society of Illustrators Student Competition and in the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles Student Competition.  Winning a silver medal is a huge, rare honor. Our students compete with the best art schools and colleges in the country. Winning one of the three scholarship awards shows that industry professionals see his work as competitive in the illustration market. Andrew’s path demonstrates that with sincere intent, an open mind, and hard work, you can develop your talents and accomplish your goals. We, as faculty at SUU, feel privileged to be a small part of his success. If students have the passion and drive, we are ready to help them reach their dreams.”

The jurors for this 59th year included Dru Struzan, illustrator of the famous Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Harry Potter posters; Claire Keane, concept artist for Disney's Frozen; Mike Mignola, the creator of the Hellboy comic; Suzy Hutchinson, the Art Director of Mad Magazine; Celebrity caricaturist Jason Seiler; Illustration legend C. F. Payne; Fantasy illustrator Justin Gerard; Caldecott winning artist Kadir Nelson; and Editor of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" —Charles Kochman.

Lee said, “It's almost surreal to be awarded the silver medal. This journey has definitely been one that was unexpected, but I can't even explain how great it feels to have such esteemed people, idols really, judge my work and award me what they did! I just have to say ‘Thank You’ to this competition and the judges for all they did.” 

Andrew Lee's artwork, as well as other SUU Illustrators that were accepted into national shows, is on display in Gallery 209 in the America First Event Center, room 209. It will hang in that gallery until the end of the semester. His work can also be viewed at the Southern Utah Museum of Art as part of the Senior BFA Exhibition. For more information about the Art and Design Department at SUU, please visit

About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 26 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring nearly 800 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit


Tags: Illustration Art College of Performing and Visual Arts

Contact Information:

Contact the Office of Marketing Communication